From California to Cape Town, these public spaces and once-private estates display some of the most spectacular flowers, sculptures and landscapes the world has to offer. Take a tour of the 10 Most Spectacular Gardens in the World and then visit to see the beauty in person.
This National Historic Site offers some of the most beautiful plant variety and an incredible backstory of reclaimed land. After Portland Cement exhausted their quarry, the wife of the company’s owner, Jennie Butchart brought soil from local farms to fill in the gaping floor. From the early 1900s, the Butcharts built up the garden and today, the 55-acre space is home to 900 plant varieties, separate Italian, Japanese and Rose gardens and just one tall chimney, which is the only surviving part of the cement quarry.
A monumental undertaking in the 17th century, the massive gardens of Versailles were constructed at the request of King Louis XIV, who considered the gardens just as important as his castle. Under the direction of designer André Le Nôtre and with the help of thousands of men, the King’s gardens came to life. Visitors can still experience the massive 250-acre gardens—the classic statues, ornate fountains and large canal that the king used for gondola rides have been well preserved. Some sections even look as they did several hundred years ago.
This 500-acre botanical garden set just off the coast of Thailand has more plants, wildlife and attractions than you could imagine. The elephant show, thematic gardens and cultural performances are a big hit with visitors, who are hard-pressed to fit it all in. The land that was originally supposed to be a plantation, was instead turned into one of the most impressive multicultural garden displays in the world.
Ganna Walska, the garden’s creator, was an offbeat visionary who described herself as an enemy of the ordinary. She sought the largest, most unusual plants and would pay any price to get them. This one-of-a-kind haven is far from a classic English garden, but that’s why it’s well worth a visit. “There were several times on the tour when my jaw dropped open. It is just that breathtaking,” said one reviewer on TripAdvisor.
Just outside of London, The enchanted Kew Royal Botanic Gardens are set on 326 acres of pristine landscaping, scattered with gorgeous greenhouses and brilliant flowers. Visit the Palm House, one of the largest Victorian glasshouses in the world or take a trip to the Alpine House, which is specially designed to host some of the most delicate mountaintop flowers in the world. A trip to these gardens is one you won’t soon forget.
Set in Tivoli, this stunning example of Renaissance culture is so significant that it’s been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The gardens, which have been a model for the rest of Europe for hundreds of years, prominently feature fountains, pools, sculptures and flowers throughout the multilevel grounds.
The Yuyuan Garden, which translates to garden of happiness, was first constructed during the Ming Dynasty in the 16th century. After a storied history that includes a brief takeover during the First Opium War, the garden was reclaimed and repaired by the Shanghai government. Now a top attraction in Shanghai, the garden gets busy on weekends, so it’s best to visit during the week.
This 47-acre estate in County Wicklow is home to some of the most beautiful and diverse gardens in the country. Built in two stages, many of those working on the garden never saw it as it is today. With separate Italian and Japanese gardens, the largest pets cemetery in Ireland and the wooded Tower Valley, Powerscourt is one of the most unique and historic gardens in the world.
Set at the foot of Table Mountain in Cape Town, Kirstenbosch is one of nine National Botanical Gardens. The 89-acre land was founded to protect and conserve local plants and flowers and today almost all of the flora within the garden is indigenous to the region. When visiting, don’t miss the canopy walk and the sunset concert, with the mountainous backdrop Kirstenbosch is beautiful.
One of the largest flower gardens in the world, 79-acre Keukenhof is known for its massive tulip displays. The gardens are open from min-March to mid-May, but the best time to catch Tulips in bloom is usually during April. Other highlights include whisper boat trips among the flower fields, indoor flower shows and the flower parade on April 25.